Meet Jill

Yes, I'm holding a tarantula. Deal with it. I mean, I did, and it's my hand the thing is sitting on. Plotting. I don't know how smart tarantulas are, but obviously not as smart as I am, because I knew enough to give him back to the pet store guy before he could fulfill any of those spidery plots.

I am terrified of spiders. Terrified as in, I would hyperventilate if I saw a picture of a spider. I would walk ten aisles out of my way to avoid the pet store aquariums where they did their eight-legged thing. I have been known to throw the entire contents of my shoe rack at a spider from ten feet away trying to kill it. I'm not a very good aim. Especially when I'm going into cardiac arrest.

But I decided, no more. Hence, the photo.

There are so many things to be afraid of when you're a teenager, aren't there? Rejection, PE class, backstabbing, riding the bus, bullying, getting your period at the pool, death. OK, some of those things are a little more serious than others. But they all scare us, right?

You're talking to the kid who refused to step too far into the backyard after dark. The one who slept with a nightlight when she was twenty. The woman who still would rather face a rabid bobcat than walk up to a stranger and begin a conversation. I know this fear thing. I've got a college degree in it. But one thing I've learned about fear. Whatever you're afraid of, it's never as bad in real life as it is in imagination.

"Yeah sure," you're saying. "You've never had your best friend tell you on the first say of school in front of the entire school bus that she's tired of you and doesn't want to sit with you ever again." Well, yes, actually, I have. Obviously, I still remember it in vivid detail.

Hence, the photo.

Time to face fear. It can't be as bad in reality as in imagination. Not sure I really believed that, but whatever. The very helpful pet store guy guided me through the traumatic experience. And you know what? It was OK. Did you know tarantulas are soft? And that they really just sit there in your palm? And that I was Perfectly. All. Right?

I'm not saying I'm going to go out and get a bird-eating tarantula to sleep with any time soon. But fear only has the power we give it. And I was tired of giving it.

Are you, too? Then join me on my blog. Test read my Young Adult novel, "How NOT to Be Noticed: My High School Anti-Plan for Success," and send me some feedback. See my newest release, Hobbits, You,and the Spiritual World of Middle-earth to find out how the most fantastic fictional characters ever dealt with their fears, hopes, and frustrations. And really, try holding a tarantula. Or whatever. Just do it.